I had been hearing about my friend Rick’s grandma’s chicken and dumplings for over a year, hoping that I would get a chance to taste this classic southern dish at some point. When Rick’s husband brings up the idea of giving up meat, Rick replies, “But how could you live without chicken and dumplings?” and that shuts him up.
So I was excited when Rick invited me over last night to help make his granny’s recipe. Although I grew up in Texas (which is geographically part of the South, but I would argue that only East Texas is culturally part of the South), I never really had southern comfort food growing up. I only just started eating greens after moving here a year and a half ago. What I’m trying to say is that I am clueless when it comes to southern cooking. Rick, on the other hand, is not clueless. He is from southern Indiana, which isn’t really part of what we think of as the South. But when you consider that the nearest city is Louisville, Kentucky, it all kind of starts to make sense. He has also introduced me to other such previously unknown dishes as persimmon pudding. Yum. At any rate, Rick learned from the best: his granny.
To make chicken and dumplings, Rick starts by boiling chicken in salted water in a pressure cooker. He also adds butter to the broth. When the chicken is done, he sets it aside and keeps the broth boiling. He then tears the chicken into pieces and returns it to the pot.
Rick then adds a bit of the broth to a bowl of flour and stirs it until a dough resembling homemade playdough forms. He turns out the dough onto a floured surface and kneads it with more flour until he has a dough that can be rolled out. After rolling out the dough, he cuts it into roughly 1 x 2 in. rectangular noodles and then drops the noodles into the pot. The result is essentially chicken noodle soup, which can be served in bowls. We ate it over mashed potatoes with peas and carrots and green beans.